IoT Automation and the Modern Software Factory

The Internet of Things has limitless potential, but it has been held back by an ability to properly scale. Could things be about to change?

Scott Willson
Scott Willson, October 24, 2017 10:45 am
Blog > IoT | ARA | Continuous Delivery > IoT Automation and the Modern Software Factory

For what feels like a lifetime, industry analysts and experts have predicted ‘this’ will be the year the Internet of Things (IoT) finally takes off, both within industry and for consumers. But, as if by clockwork, each year of ‘guaranteed’ IoT explosion has passed – the mass adoption and exploitation of the Internet of Things having failed to materialize.

The IoT vision is almost utopian in its promise: a connected intelligent home or office, offering a simpler more convenient future. Our houses will be populated by smart ‘things’; thermostats that know precisely how warm we like our rooms, speakers that understand our taste in music and refrigerators that realize when we’re running low on the essentials and act to replenish themselves. Our cities too will become more intelligent; our highways will be populated by sensors, bringing congestion to an end; our streets safeguarded by interconnected surveillance. This will all be made possible via the communication of a global set of devices.

For all its promise, however, the Internet of Things is still yet to gain any meaningful traction – it hasn’t fulfilled its potential. But what potential it has! Gartner predicts that, by 2020, more than 20 billion ‘things’ will be connected to the IoT. Clearly, there’s a huge market just waiting to be tapped. While several elements of the IoT-end game remain years away – namely, intelligent cities – we may finally be approaching the tipping point for this interconnected world to become a reality.

There have been significant barriers between us and the promised land of a truly connected world. A lack of true industry standards is one such hurdle. To date, the IoT hasn’t been populated with devices designed around the same building standards, or even with unified security protocols. Connected devices struggle to simply talk to each other organically. As such, each device has required its own application, rather than everything being controlled from a single central hub. From a consumer’s point of view, this is holding back adoption.

Complexity is another hurdle which must be cleared. On paper, a series of truly connected devices sounds so simple, yet it’s anything but. The Internet of Things is so diverse, it can consist of just about anything. Cars, watches, doorbells ­ even egg trays (seriously). To make the IoT really feasible, we need more than hardware and connectivity: we need software. To push updates quickly and safely, and ensure performance, we need more modern software factories. The backbone of the modern software factory? Automation.

In the digital era, automation is pivotal to the modern business, to digital transformation and to the eventual success of the IoT. Historically, it has been an overlooked component in the quest to realize the IoT. While we’re not going to be too hasty and claim 2017 will truly be the year of ‘Connected Everything’, we’re confident in claiming we’re one step closer.

CA Technologies: Automation and the IoT Modern Software Factory

Attempting to manually push updates, security fixes or new features to IoT devices would be a fool’s game. It’s simply not possible ­without automation. The Internet of Things relies upon Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment practices which, as we know, are only possible at scale with automation.

The DevOps approach of writing small iterative builds consisting of frequent batch releases of code are well suited to the IoT and vital for ensuring security and maintaining performance. By using an application release automation solution, you can safely push these releases to countless production devices.

CA Automic Release Automation allows you to coordinate the release of your applications, their updates and deployments automatically. What’s more, it does it all with zero downtime, which is an essential in the Internet of Things.

As the very nature of the IoT is almost unfathomable in scope, obviously scalability is crucial. With CA Automic v12.1, the CA Automic Automation Engine can support more than 500,000 agent connections with each clustered instance, which will more than suffice – even in times of exponential growth.

Another historic hurdle faced by the Internet of Things is the issue of data latency. For the IoT to truly succeed, it must be able to capture and store data as efficiently as possible and also distribute that information. Regardless of the volume or variety of the data, for it to be of any use it must be distributed to connected devices – often in real-time. Version 12.1 of CA Automic Workload Automation solves this headache by introducing new levels of scalability and speed to the orchestration of data flows.

CA Automic can support up to 25,000 external events per second. What does this mean? That the CA Automic Automation Engine can practically eliminate latency altogether and guarantees the data required by IoT gets delivered in real-time speeds, even in massive dynamic environments.

The Internet of Things is closer than it’s ever been to bearing fruition on its original promise. Although we may be some way from universal consumer adoption, by applying the right automation solution to IoT projects, we can facilitate the necessary communication, scalability and speed to connect everything.

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Scott Willson

Scott Willson

Scott Willson is Product Marketing Director, Release Automation at Automic Software. He has over 20 years of technology experience that spans software development, pre-sales, post sales, and marketing. Scott is passionate about technology and helping business achieve value through technology and was leading DevOps at organizations before it was coined DevOps